Internet Research


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Using the web and Internet for research - a presentation for journalism students at the Sri Lanka College of Journalism

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Internet Research

  1. 1. USING THE INTERNET AND WEB FOR RESEARCH Sanjana Hattotuwa Senior Researcher, Centre for Policy Alternatives Editor, Groundviews (
  2. 2. WEB SEARCHING The fundamental skill in navigating the web  
  3. 3. Search engine of choice Google -   Google began in January 1996 as a research project by Larry Page, a   Ph.D. student at Stanford. In search for a dissertation theme, Page considered—among other things—exploring the mathematical properties of the World Wide Web, understanding its link structure as a huge graph. Incorporated as Google Inc., on 4 September 1998   The name quot;Googlequot; originated from a misspelling of quot;googol” which refers   to the number represented by a 1 followed by one-hundred zeros. Having found its way increasingly into everyday language, the verb, quot;googlequot; was added to the Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary and the Oxford English Dictionary in 2006, meaning, quot;to use the Google search engine to obtain information on the Internet.”
  4. 4. Deciphering Google
  5. 5. 3 simple ways to search Use more words     E.g. Sri Lanka journalists vs. journalists Use unusual words     Sri Lanka Lasantha Wickremetunga Use quotation marks     “Sri Lanka cricket” vs. Sri Lanka Cricket
  6. 6. More advanced searching
  7. 7. Refining a search In the old days we used boolean logic AND / OR /   NOT   Now just use + or –   E.g. (1) Sri Lanka (2) Sri Lanka -cricket –sports   Also remember quotation marks “”
  8. 8. Did you mean… Sree Lunka     Try putting search query in Microsoft Word, spell checking it and then copying and pasting it to Google
  9. 9. Keeping pornography at bay
  10. 10. Calculator Currency     Howdo you calculate 1 Swiss Franc to a Sri Lankan Rupee? Metric conversion     Howmany kilos in a pound?   What is 59 F in Celsius?
  11. 11. NEWS The Internet and web have revolutionised the way   we access news and information   Not only do we consume, we can now also report the news (citizens journalism)
  12. 12. Google News Google's News is revolutionary in that it is wholly computerised –   humans do not make the selections. The links to the news stories on one subject are clustered together, with the total number of stories indicating the scale of worldwide interest. Topics are updated every 15 minutes.   You can customise the news, by arranging Google's subject areas,   including sections from their 20+ international editions, in various languages. Really advantageous, though, is that you can choose your own   subjects: select keywords required in the stories you want and Google will search them out for you on a regular basis.
  13. 13. Google News – over 4,500 news sources
  14. 14. News archives on Google News
  15. 15. Google Newspaper indexing Partnering with newspaper publishers to digitize millions of   pages of news archives. Let's say you want to learn more about the landing on the Moon. Not only will you be able to search newspapers, you'll also   be able to browse through them exactly as they were printed -- photographs, headlines, articles, advertisements and all. Pittsburgh Post Gazette -  id=w0sNAAAAIBAJ&dq=pittsburgh&sjid=D20DAAAAIBAJ& pg=6256,2864141
  16. 16. Google News alerts through email
  17. 17. RSS RSS is a family of Web feed formats used to publish   frequently updated works—such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video—in a standardized format. An RSS document (which is called a quot;feedquot;, quot;web feed”,   or quot;channelquot;) includes full or summarized text, plus metadata such as publishing dates and authorship. They benefit readers who want to subscribe to timely   updates from favored websites or to aggregate feeds from many sites into one place
  18. 18. Really Simple Syndication (RSS)
  19. 19. My RSS reader
  21. 21. Online resources for journalists JournalismNet -   CyberJournalist -   Poynter Institute -   Newseum -  South Asia Journalists Association (SAJA) - 
  22. 22. Front pages from Newseum
  23. 23. International Journalist Networks International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) -  Reporters Without Borders (RSF) -  International Freedom of Expression Exchange   (IFEX) -
  24. 24. REFERENCE TOOLS From Wikipedia to Encyclopedia Britannica, the   web has more information that can be consumed in a lifetime
  25. 25. Wikipedia ( 50 million visitors a day     700,000 articles in English
  26. 26. Google Scholar Google Scholar provides a simple way to broadly   search for scholarly literature. From one place, you can search across many disciplines   and sources: peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, abstracts and articles, from academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories, universities and other scholarly organizations. Google Scholar helps you identify the most relevant   research across the world of scholarly research.
  27. 27. Google Scholar  
  28. 28. QUOTATIONS Gaia Community quotes - 
  29. 29. MACHINE TRANSLATION Google Translate -  Yahoo BabelFish -  
  30. 30. MAPS Google Maps and Google Earth have   revolutionised the way we access and see geo- spatial information   Both are free. Google Earth typically requires a powerful PC (graphics intensive) and broadband connectivity.   New ways to visualise information incl. timelines and historical data
  31. 31. Google Earth (Version 5)
  32. 32. Google Maps Cyclone Nargis Peacebuilding Election violence Mumbai attacks
  33. 33. BLOGS Over 80 million globally     Growing at an incredible pace   In English, Sinhala and Tamil   Anyone can write / anyone can published / completely free in most cases
  34. 34. What is a blog?
  35. 35. Sri Lankan blogs GlobalVoicesOnline -  Groundviews –   Kottu –  
  36. 36. Technorati -
  37. 37. Blogging safely and other issues Handbook for bloggers and cyber-dissidents -  id_rubrique=542
  38. 38. ONLINE VIDEO Vikalpa YouTube video channel -  CPA’s Vimeo channel -   Blinkx -   Livestation  
  39. 39. IMAGES Google Images indexes over 1.3 billion images -  Yahoo indexes over 1.6 billion images -  Flickr -  
  40. 40. MEASURING INTEGRITY AND VERACITY http:// 2008/09/25/sarah-palin- and-the-veracity-of- information-on-the-web/
  41. 41. How do you measure integrity of a website? Government information: It may not be correct, but it is official – you can quote a   government source with a clear idea of what you are getting. Universities: Academic institutions offer a level of authority – this may vary, but it is   something to depend on. Most studies by recognised experts are still reviewed by their peers, so the information is likely to be good quality. Special interest groups: Non-governmental organisations and pressure groups may   push a particular line, but if they are recognised bodies, you, and your readers, have some idea of what is being provided – it might be Transparency International, the Caracas Chamber of Commerce, or the Red Crescent. Companies and commercial sites could be regarded similarly, though the reliability of the site for an internationally-known brand would be different from an unheard-of dotcom. Everything else: Unidentifiable organisations, personal sites, hobbies, obsessions   etc. This includes most personal blogs
  42. 42. How do you evaluate a website? AUTHORITY: Is this a recognised expert? A body with a known reputation?   AFFILIATION: Who is it connected with? A university? Another reputable body?   ACCURACY: If you spot mistakes while reading the site, then start worrying.   APPEARANCE: Is the site carefully put together? A lot of reliable sites are old-fashioned looking, rather than modern or   flashy, but a sloppy or amateur-looking production may indicate the site is the work of an individual rather than the large operation it purports to be. INTENT: Why does the site exist? Does it do the job it claims to be doing?   CURRENCY: Is it up-to-date? Look for recent dates, or information you know to be new.   RECOMMENDATIONS: Is it recommended by other people or organisations, by reliable experts, by people you know? How   many links to outside sources / sites does it have? DEPTH: Has it done a thorough job in covering a subject or issue?   COMPREHENSIBILITY: Does the articles / content make sense? Are they inflammatory, partisan? Are there signs of bias?   CREDIBILITY: Does common sense tell you the information in the site is true?  
  43. 43. TRUST ONLINE
  44. 44. NewsTrust - The website features quality news   and opinions, which are carefully rated by our members, based on quality, not just popularity. NewsTrust reviewers evaluate each story against   core principles of journalism, such as fairness, accuracy, context and sourcing -- using our unique review tools.
  45. 45. NewsTrust -
  46. 46. Digg - Digg is a place for people to discover and share content   from anywhere on the web. From the biggest online destinations to the most obscure blog, Digg surfaces the best stuff as voted on by our users. You won’t find editors at Digg. How do we do this? Everything on Digg — from news to   videos to images — is submitted by our community (that would be you). Once something is submitted, other people see it and Digg what they like best. If your submission rocks and receives enough Diggs, it is promoted to the front page for the millions of our visitors to see.
  47. 47. Digg -
  48. 48. NowPublic - NowPublic is a participatory news network which   mobilizes an army of reporters to cover the events that define our world. In twelve short months, the company has become one of   the fastest growing news organizations with thousands of reporters in over 140 countries. During Hurricane Katrina, NowPublic had more   reporters in the affected area than most news organizations have on their entire staff.
  49. 49. NowPublic -
  50. 50. Questions?